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Playful Kiss: Episode 1

I had mixed feelings about this premiere: It wasn’t as good as I was hoping, but it wasn’t as bad as I feared.

I can see where some viewers had issues with it, and I share those concerns. But I think it started to find its groove later on — almost too late, really — and will hold onto that hope going into Episode 2.

SONG OF THE DAY

G.NA – “키스해줄래” (Will you kiss me?) from the Playful Kiss OST. [ Download ]

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CHARACTERS

Our heroine is OH HA-NI (Jung So-min), a not-so-bright student in her last year of high school, who’s in the last-place class (seventh of seven) of her year. She grew up with a loving father who runs a noodle restaurant (her mother died when she was a child), and the two have an affectionate relationship. Prone to daydreaming, Ha-ni’s fantasies center around Seung-jo, a boy at school on whom she harbors a pretty strong crush.

Ha-ni’s best friends, also in the last-place class, are DOKKO MIN-AH (Yoon Seung-ah) and JUNG JU-RI (Hong Yoon-hwa). Together, the trio is a little bumbling, but good-hearted and loyal to one another.

BAEK SEUNG-JO (Kim Hyun-joong), on the other hand, is the complete opposite. He’s in the No. 1 class and isn’t merely the best student, but positively perfect. In fact, in the most recent exams, he scored a 500 out of 500. Alas, that intellectual perfection doesn’t come with a gracious personality. He’s not just the cold, logical type a la Mr. Darcy but quite condescending to boot, looking down his nose at everyone, not bothering to hide that he finds them inferior. Whatta prince.

His parents are perfectly friendly people, though, and his mother (GEUM-HEE, played by Jung Hye-young) will figure largely in our plot. For now, all we know is that she’s a welcoming, cheerful mother with a lively sense of curiosity about her son’s life.

The guy with the retro flipped-up hair is BONG JOON-GU (Lee Tae-sung), a Busan boy with the thick accent to prove it. He can usually be seen traveling en masse with his posse, the foursome played by rock band Bye Bye Sea who are identified simply as “Bong Joon-gu’s Boys.”

Joon-gu and the boys are also residents of Class 7. While the boys can often be found jamming on musical instruments in between classes, Joon-gu spends a lot of his energies following Ha-ni around, trying to win her affections. She remains firmly fixated on Seung-jo, however, and doesn’t spare Joon-gu much thought.

 
EPISODE 1 RECAP

We open on a fantasy sequence, set in what looks like an enchanted meadow in a fairy tale. The CG is exaggerated, but it has that overtly whimsical sensibility of Pushing Daisies or Big Fish — dreamy, romantic, and girlish.

In the daydream, a handsome young man dressed all in white comes upon a sleeping girl, kisses her lightly, then walks away. When the girl wakes, she sees a white horse and follows it through the forest to another meadow, where the horse turns back into her mystery man.

He approaches her and leans in. This time, she anticipates the kiss and purses her lips in readiness…

Which is when she wakes up. At school. Late for class. Oh Ha-ni, waking from her latest crush-induced fantasy, races off as the bell rings.

The dream sequence is admittedly very pretty to look at, but since we know it’s a fantasy from the very get-go, it does go on and on. My feelings on the opening went from “This is lovely” to “Hm, I wonder where they’re going with this” to “GRAHH, WHY ARE YOU SO SLOW.”

In class, Ha-ni’s teacher attempts to exert some authority over her sluggish pupils, but this ain’t the last-place class without a reason. Students nap, zone out, and generally slack off. Ha-ni and her friends aren’t worried about their latest grades, though — they’re always at the bottom, so what else is new?

While Ha-ni, Ju-ri, and Min-ah hang out in the lounge, a student comes by and loses a coin in the soda machine. She’s HONG JANG-MI (Jang Ah-young), who’s basically a Mean Girl, despite being younger than Ha-ni.

With a flourish, Ha-ni steps in and kicks the machine to get the soda to pop out, and enjoys basking in the moment. Particularly since it momentarily puts a cork in Jang-mi’s superior act.

Ha-ni moons all over Seung-jo, which seems to be a pretty common occurrence. Her friends are used to it, and only shake their heads when Ha-ni shares her daydream and calls him a spirit of the forest. She goes into raptures over his perfection, saying that now she understands how vampires feel — such is his beauty that it makes her want to bite right into him.

Speak of the devil: Seung-jo makes his appearance, calm and cool as you please, blithely ignoring the squealing of girls who ooh over his entrance.

Ha-ni freezes as Seung-jo approaches, victim to the vicissitudes of adolescent infatuation, and her heart thumps wildly. Jang-mi flutters over to him offers her soda instead, chattering on as though they’re close friends. Apparently their mothers are friends, and Seung-mi tries to use this to ingratiate herself, fawning all over him.

Seung-jo ignores her, but when his coin also gets stuck in the machine, Jang-mi calls out to Ha-ni to employ her fix again. She particularly enjoys putting Ha-ni on the spot, making the latter reluctant to comply but also reluctant to refuse.

So Ha-ni goes up to the machine, studiously avoiding his gaze, and delivers a kick. Afterward she cringes in embarrassment, not wanting this to be his impression of her, but I say there’s something satisfying in the way Seung-jo gapes; he’s not exactly impressed, but eliciting any reaction at all from his stone-faced demeanor is probably an accomplishment.

Seung-jo turns to leave, and Ju-ri, trying to help her friend, calls out her name loudly so that he’ll hear it. Seung-jo turns and starts walking back toward them, and Ha-ni readies herself in anticipation — surely he’ll thank her, or say something? But no, he retrieves his change from the machine.

Her friends urge Ha-ni to confess her feelings, since they’ll graduate soon enough. Despite her earlier embarrassment, Ha-ni bounces right back and clings to the new hope that perhaps Seung-jo isn’t expressing his feelings for her because he doesn’t know hers, and decides a confession is just the thing. But how?

To prove her utter lack of common sense, Ha-ni likes Ju-ri’s joke suggestion about dressing as Gollum and addressing Seung-jo as “My precious.” Min-ah’s suggestion is better, but not by much: a mating dance, like animals.

This leads us into another fantasy, wherein Ha-ni dances in Swan Lake, joined by Seung-jo. Again this goes longer than necessary, but at least the punchline saves it (sort of): Seung-jo partners Ha-ni, lifts her in the air, and then tosses her aside.

Poor girl. Even in her own daydreams she can’t catch a break.

Next up is drawing class, and Joon-gu (whom I’ve taken to calling Duckie in my head) is tapped as figure model. Anyone with half a brain would be totally onto how very much he’s in love with Ha-ni (or at least in grand infatuation), but I suppose half her brain is perpetually fixated on Seung-jo, so she brushes his attentions aside.

That means all his efforts to look cool are wasted, although he doesn’t know it. As the pose becomes harder and harder to maintain, sweat beads drip from his forehead but Joon-gu vows to stick with it, since Ha-ni is looking at him.

Ha-ni does draw, but in a mechanical way as she doodles the words “Confess… mating dance… Gollum…”

Adding salt to the wound is when Joon-gu peers at the drawing at the end of class — to see that she has drawn his body with Seung-jo’s face.

We don’t see much of the teachers in Episode 1, but I suspect they’ll have their own storyline, so let’s introduce ’em: At left is SONG KANG-YI (Hwang Hyo-eun), and Kang Doo plays the Class 1 teacher SONG JI-OH. Both are “Teacher Song,” but are polar opposites — kind of like Ha-ni and Seung-jo, in fact.

I wonder if their storyline will mimic our main one, since it appears Kang-yi may have a crush on Ji-oh, who is just as cool and superior as his star student.

Ha-ni becomes engrossed in thought, trying to figure out how to confess her feelings to Seung-jo. Dad picks up on it, and understands that she’s got a crush on a boy even though she describes it as the situation of “a friend,” and shares how he made his confession to her mother. (Stealing, by the way, a famous line from I’m Sorry, I Love You.)

So that launches Ha-ni into another reverie — really, drama? Number 3 already? — wherein she corners Seung-jo with her motorcycle gang, looking like a bad girl out of Grease while a pale imitation of “Beat It” serves as background music.

(Gah, these extended fantasies that never end! I love you, director Hwang, but you could really do to watch some episodes of Scrubs. ‘s all I’m sayin’.)

Badass Ha-ni confronts Seung-jo, who backs away meekly, and she recites her line, which offers him the choice to either be with her or die.

And even in her fantasy, Seung-jo picks the coffin. Aw! There’s something really endearing about Ha-ni in this.

Thankfully Dad has more practical advice than her friends, and suggests that a sincere love letter might just work best. Ha-ni decides he’s right, and delivers a letter to his locker, then waits nervously for his response.

When he walks by the lounge and shows Ha-ni no recognition at all, Ju-ri shouts her name loudly, determined to make her friend known. Min-ah joins her, and this time, they have a reaction.

Seung-jo asks, “Are you Oh Ha-ni?” He makes his way back to them, and holds out a letter to her. Students gather round curiously, and Ha-ni barely contains her excitement as she opens it, telling him she hadn’t dared hope for a reply.

Yet as soon as she starts to read, her excitement fades, replaced by crushing disappointment.

Jang-mi has to live up to her designation as Mean Girl, so she swipes the letter from Ha-ni’s grasp, then crows about its contents. Seung-jo hadn’t written her a reply — he’d graded hers! The letter has been marked up in red pen, and he’d given her a D-.

(For what it’s worth, I think this moment would have been better had I not seen it done more cutely in Will It Snow For Christmas.)

Jang-mi positively exults and talks about it loudly for all to hear, while Ha-ni can only stand there, humiliated. Meanwhile, Seung-jo just stands there and tells her, “I’m sorry to say this, but I hate dumb girls.”

Joon-gu — bless him — comes late to the party but has sized up the situation, and confronts Seung-jo for his rudeness. He demands that Seung-jo apologize, to which Seung-jo smirks, “For what, correcting her mistakes?”

Joon-gu retorts, “Do you only see the mistakes? Don’t look at the letters, look at the contents!” (Aw. You’ve officially won me over, ridiculous hair-boy!)

He challenges Seung-jo to fight and takes a swing, but the latter swiftly evades the punch — cool as you please, his hands not even moving from his pockets.

The vice principal interrupts, and as Seung-jo is the golden child, he is dismissed while Joon-gu is called in for disciplining.

Finally, Seung-jo deigns to speak and levels a finger at the board that has been posted of the recent test results — Ha-ni and her friends occupy the lowest status of the school. He points to a second sign, which marks the 50 top students who are admitted to a special study hall each month.

Turning his scorn to Ha-ni, he calls her thoughtless for choosing to waste her time rather than caring about more important things: “I hate thoughtless, impudent girls.”

Ha-ni is devastated. Worst of all is probably the fact that he’s not wrong — she IS the lowest scoring student. Still, she hardly deserves such a drubbing from him.

She takes out her frustration by running around the school, exhausted and stumbling by the time she reaches lap 34. Her friends urge her to stop, but she insists on running two more laps. In a lovely moment of solidarity, they stand up to give her a hand (literally) and support her through her last lap.

Word of Ha-ni’s encounter with Seung-jo spreads through the school, making her the laughingstock. Is it worse to be mocked by your peers, or pitied by the cafeteria and cleaning ladies? Thankfully we’ll probably never have to know, but Ha-ni has to endure.

As she and Dad settle into their newly remodeled house, unpacking their things, he notices her glumness and guesses that the confessing didn’t go so well. He tries to cheer her up, and in the unpacking process he finds an old plaque that had been made when she was a baby — it bears the handprint of her parents, as well as her baby hand and footprint.

Ju-ri, Min-ah, and Joon-gu come over and marvel at the spacious digs and the newly built second floor. They sit down for a delicious meal prepared by Dad, who sighs that Ha-ni didn’t take after him in the cooking-skills department. Joon-gu takes that as his cue to assure Dad not to worry, since he’ll take care of the both of them.

The others laugh at Joon-gu’s over-the-top declaration and tease him, which makes him cry out in an exaggerated gesture and bang his head into the wall. Which sets of a series of creaks… and rumbles…

…and leads to the house crumbling down.

It’s not Joon-gu’s head-butt that causes the damage, but a small earthquake that shakes up the neighborhood. However, where all the other houses experience no more than mild rocking, Ha-ni’s house has inexplicably caved in on itself.

That’s one more reason for Ha-ni to become the focus of unwanted attention at school, and as she walks with her friends the next morning, they catch sight of a strange woman snapping photos of her. And for some reason, passing students keep looking at her and whispering.

The reason becomes clear moments later as they hear Joon-gu on a megaphone, who has taken up a spot at the school’s entrance calling for donations for a needy student. He means well, but one hardly wants to be called pathetic and a charity case in front of her peers, so the girls slink away in mortification.

Alas, Joon-gu spies Ha-in and drags her into the circle, continuing his appeals for donations — just as Seung-jo walks by. She’d like to ignore him, but misguided chivalry drives Joon-gu to engage, and he blames Seung-jo for being the cause of all of Ha-ni’s troubles.

Seung-jo points out that it was the earthquake that felled her house, and Joon-gu sputters in reply, saying that while that’s true, Seung-jo’s guilty of an “earthquake of the heart,” and for hurting Ha-ni.

Seung-jo shrugs and offers to contribute, then, and pulls out his wallet. He starts to put in 20,000 won (about $15), which is when Ha-ni finally speaks up. Indignantly, she tells him to put his money away — she wouldn’t accept his help even if she were a beggar under a bridge.

That affects him not at all, and he starts to leave. But now Ha-ni’s really worked up and she bursts out again:

Ha-ni: “Who are you to look down on people like that? I bet to you, all the kids here just look like idiots, huh? You think you can just mock us. Are you so great? So you have a high IQ? You’re a good student? So you have a good-looking face and you’re tall!”

Uh, that statement took a turn, and Ha-ni realizes she’s started to lose ground here. So she fumbles for a suitable retort, and insists that she CAN study. It’s just that she hasn’t bothered to!

Seung-jo tells her to prove it. What does she propose, and how will she show it?

Gulp. Ha-ni can’t back down now, so she says she’ll score high enough in the next exam to score one of those seats in special study hall. Clearly not believing she can do it, Seung-jo agrees to carry her piggyback for one lap around school if she succeeds.

Internally, Ha-ni does a little giddy dance at the prospect of being carried on his back, then tamps that down to coolly agree.

Thanks to the news broadcast about the earthquake wrecking their house, Dad’s old friend had seen him on TV and called him to offer his house while the Ohs figure out what to do. Dad is thrilled to be reuniting with his old best friend, with whom he’d lost contact after they’d moved to Seoul.

When they arrive, Ha-ni marvels at the grand house; his friend must be a rich man.

Dad (Ki-dong)’s friend is Su-chang, who is married to Geum-hee, both of whom are very friendly and give Ha-ni a warm welcome. When Su-chang notes that she’s “even prettier in person,” Geum-hee has to fess up that she was so curious about her that she couldn’t wait and sought her out at school this morning. Ha-ni recognizes her as the mysterious photographer outside the school.

Geum-hee offers the services of her son to bring their luggage in, and sends him outside to the car where Ha-ni is gathering her things.

And really, it’s no surprise at all when the two kiddos discover just who they’re about to spend the next days, weeks, months, living with.

 
COMMENTS

A random trivia bit:

Playful Kiss is airing against My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho, having started about a month behind it. One of director Hwang In-roi’s previous dramas, as I am sure many of you know, was Goong, which started in January 2006 — a month behind My Girl, which is one of the Gumiho writers’ previous dramas. (I’d always thought My Girl and Goong should have gotten higher ratings, but they were up against each other and no doubt shared much of the same audience.)

On to this drama:

There’s good and bad. When I was first watching it, I thought it was rather ho-hum. The more I watched, and toward the end in particular, I started to like it more and more. I don’t feel that emotional connection yet and the story isn’t as compelling as I’d like, but I am actually pretty hopeful about the show.

One huge detractor is that the first episode seemed like a collection of vignettes describing Ha-ni’s world — it wasn’t driven by a central plotline. I don’t think it’s a bad tactic in theory, but in a competitive television market you really need to establish your premise strongly and quickly, rather than lingering in the mundane moments. The drama doesn’t have to be high-concept like Gumiho, but it would benefit from higher-concept. (I know Playful Kiss is based on a manhwa/drama, which dictates the storyline. However, there are always ways to inject a hook or a catchy plot without dishonoring its source material.)

The problems appear to be both a writing and a directing thing. On the writing front, this episode is very thin on action. What actually happened in Episode 1? SO VERY LITTLE. We spent nearly 45 minutes on a schoolgirl crush. The writer could have condensed a bunch of scenes and would have been better served getting right to the point instead of dawdling.

There were no surprises. We know how this is going to end up — we know she’s going to move in with Seung-jo. So just get there already.

On the directing front, the pacing was sluggish and I don’t blame viewers for checking out quickly. FIVE MINUTES were spent on that intro fantasy when the entire thing could have been just as effective in thirty seconds. Long fantasies would be forgivable if they’re needed to tell a story or flesh out an idea — but as we get the point immediately, there’s no need to drag it out. The drama could have easily shaved 10 to 15 minutes without changing plot.

As for Goong:

The Goong comparisons will probably haunt this show for a good long while, and I suspect that will grow tiresome. So I’ll just say this here and (try to) refrain from belaboring the point in the future.

On the downside, wow there are a lot of tonal similarities between the two dramas. The stories are pretty different, but the execution is, in spots, perplexingly similar. Jung So-min’s styling, the school cliques, the teddy-bear ending frame.

On the other hand, Goong hardly spent any time at the school after the initial setup (which was one thing I missed after the royal stuff got going in earnest), whereas Playful Kiss will be primarily at school. So I don’t mind that similarity so much.

I did enjoy the whimsical feel of Playful Kiss, when it wasn’t veering on overly contemplative. Trendies need more energy than this, and I suspect that PD Hwang’s forte isn’t sassy comedy. Bright side: He has a deft touch with poignant moments, so there’s that.

Goong was elevated by its fusion-fantasy palace concept, and Return of Iljimae as a fusion-sageuk-comic book adaptation, so on paper Hwang should have been the perfect director for fusion manhwa adaptations like this. But I want more zazz, because this has no Big Concept to buoy the mundane school and home scenes. (Mundane isn’t bad — I like this mundane aspect, actually — but it requires more… oomph.)

Goong had pomp and elegance, and therefore it filled that space with its grandeur. Without that, Playful Kiss just has… space. It needs to tap into its energy, and I believe it’s entirely possible. I just hope it comes soon.

Acting:

Jung So-min is ADORABLE. She’s gonna run away with this drama, hands down.

Many of you have noted previously that Jung is very expressive, and that really comes across in the show. That doesn’t just mean she makes exaggerated facial expressions, but that she has a range of them and conveys a lot of subtleties within her various expressions. I’d heard a lot about how this original manga character is super-annoying and was bracing myself for that, but I find Ha-ni quite likable. She’s not smart and she’s a little clumsy, but in an endearing way.

Actually, what I loved most about her character is the way Ha-ni’s infatuation with Seung-jo is depicted. On paper it could be an aggravating premise — a dumb girl chases around a guy who’s out of her league and who dislikes her, wearing him down with her doggedness. However, there’s something very lovely in the way we see her adolescent crush — the heart thumping, the freezing in nervous anticipation, the deluded daydreams that he might like her, the giddy little moments when she thinks he’s about to talk to her. I mean, haven’t we all been there? It totally brought back some memories, and tugged my heartstrings. Boy, I wouldn’t want to be her, but then again, I HAVE been her.

Then there’s Kim Hyun-joong. You know, he doesn’t bother me so much here. I don’t think he was good, but he wasn’t awful, either. He sorta skated by in the middle, not really doing much but doing it in an inoffensive way.

I wonder if it’ll help him to play a guy with a bit of meanness to him, because that’s what makes Seung-jo interesting to me. We’ve seen SO MANY of those misunderstood, cold-on-the-outside, warm-n-fuzzy-on-the-inside heroes that I’m excited just to get something different. Seung-jo isn’t misunderstood — he just doesn’t give a damn about anyone other than himself. I don’t like that on a personal level, but I like that he’s a little different.

ANYWAY. That’s my long-winded way of saying that I had misgivings about the first episode, but I find enough things to like about it to be hopeful for the future, low ratings or not.

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thanks for the recap ..i couldnt be bothered watching the first ep,but i might check out ep 2

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as for episode 1, i find it kinda similar to the anime..so i'm happy~ ahaha

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everytime i read an article from this site, im ended iritated because of your frequent show of dislike to KHJ acting

(yes i am big KHJ fangirl)

so im not expecting an OBJECTIVE recap of Playful Kiss episode 1 (actually i am not expecting any recap from you after the result of the rating)

and i am more surprise that I agree to your POV about your analysis of Episode 1,

the problem of episode 1 is the too much day dreaming and slow phase of the story (the director and scripwriter should be working their ass off to make this work or else i will not forgive them)

and about KHJ acting, finally hearing from a none fan like you , accepting that his acting is pretty decent and not irritating is a big confirmation that my opinion is not clouded by my biased fangirling toward KHJ, meaning KHJ did improve compare to his BOF performance

I just hope this objective attitude toward Playful Kiss continue, because I watch the episode and find it a big improvement to episode 1, and the preview of episode 3 is also promising

the rating does not reflect the true value of this drama

thanks for the space

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kim hyun joong cant act if his life depended on it ... BUT I CAN JUST STARE AT HIS FACE THE WHOLE DAY

hopefully he improves *crosses fingers + toes*

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Thanks for the recap, JB. I think they are definitely going after a different 'feel' here, and it may work in the end.

Spanner in the works: the strike. If PK/MK continues to improve its pacing each episode, they will run out of episodes just about the time fans start building on, I'd think. Coupled with strong time-slot contenders, the Wed-Thurs curse, and the strike's affects, this drama may always be under- or over-rated.

I also hope to see a departure from the Goong feel, in that, if we're going to shadow some of Goong's images, let's change them up a bit with a twist.

This drama has places to go, and as always, I'm hopeful that we're going to take that journey to a satisfactory conclusion and not take a trip with a slow, mired down , luckless fizzler.

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I liked it...The second episode i have to admit was better... but seriously those bears...it just ticked me off...

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now i'm watching ISWAK again. thanks alot, PK. not a good tym to get hooked on iswak again. joe cheng and ariel lin chemistry nevr gets tiring

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Thank you Javabeans for the recap and for being open-minded!!! I know as a KHJ fan I was a but worried about what you would say cuz I love your recaps and respect your opinions.

:)

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thank you so much for the cap. i was holding my breath. i really enjoy your cap even thought i've seen both eps for few time already. hang in there please eps 2 is soooooooo much better. thank you again for your efford.the only way to go now is up up up .fighting

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I've watched all versions of this drama, and I have to admit that I might like this one the most.

For example, the letter thingy. It's a mandatory scene for story line and in every other version it was done in the same way. But here, they had twisted it a bit without spoiling the plot or the characters and that's what I love in this.

I don't know if I like this version so much 'cause I've seen all the other versions, but I find this adaption likable. Even those way too long imagination scenes I found little bit entertaining.

But well see, how it will turn out.

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You know, for what it's worth, those Goong bears just bring out the kid in me wanting to visit the Bear Museum on Jeju Island. I think their sponsorship is well extended, don't you think so?

Like I said before, I felt the draggy beginning was tacky, and the CG effects were kid's play. There is some sort of correlation towards Baek Seung-jo's name in elements w/ the forest and white dress code, and all ties in truth towards their 2nd kiss. Well, we'll have to wait and see if all the teasing makes more sense later on in this story.

Now, I can understand how so many feel a need to discuss about the TW and/or JAP versions while watching this KOR version, however I feel it shouldn't be necessary since in honesty PK is interpreting betwn the manga and anime.

Last but not least, I love everything about JSM playing lead actress. Oh sure, nitpick Oh Ha Ni as Shin Chae Kyung's [Goong's princess] twin; hairstyles, hair accessories, leggings, school supplies, must I go on w/ this list? I'll give OHN a chance to grow on me. Hmmm~ what to say about KHJ? What happened to his nose? Has he been roughing up his surgically perfect nose? His nose looks so different from BBF till now in PK. (He needs to take better care of his finances. ‘s all I’m sayin’.) This show can benefit more if KHJ brings back a part of BBF's Yoon Ji Hoo for his stoic charisma was more lively than BSJ's portrayal of Naoki Irie; I must agree w/ JB when I see BSJ upset I really want to see him full of emotions being mean.

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Meep~ I know, I know, I'm well aware this is barely ep.01, and certain feelings/emotions are warming through an ice cold glass pot. It'll take time to bubble, however... (I'll keep my thoughts to myself till ep.02 recaps post).

Maybe JB and I have jumped the gun on remarks behalf BSJ's rotten emotions.

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You know what Javabeans, continue recapping Sungkyunkwan Scandal......, I somehow guess there will be lesser number of people waiting impatiently for Playful Kiss recaps in comparison to Sungkyunkwan scandal...

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i skipped most of the daydream parts cause it was just dragged out too long plus they weren't as funny as they were probably meant to be.

i like the korean version oh ha ni. the taiwanese version of her character xiang qing got on my nerves cause she was the really omg-is-anyone-really-that stupid person and it made iswak hard to watch but i stuck with it in order to watch they kiss again. oh ha ni is a way more likable character.

i also like the fact that they showed that seung jo is already showing some kind of emotion other than coldness now because zi shu was like that for for 85% of the taiwanese version. its less frustrating to watch.

overall i like how it is developing. im definitely in this for the long run.

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the thought of 3 daydreams in like the 15-20min was superrr lame! im honestly only watching the show just because of KHJ. the chick is not that attractive, i really expected a prettier girl--no offense to anyone that thinks otherwise. i really think this drama is going to turn out well, but just the thought of watching 20 eps. on 1 couple is really somewhat bothersome. oh wells, we'll see i guess.

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Not going to worry to much. In other version it happen too. Things start to heat up when they move in together.

Still have high hope..... especially seeing KJH start to improve a lil bit (hey, this guy can do facial expression too...ha..ha..) he fits Naoki character well in my opinion.

and best Kotoko so far......

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ah.... another thing, Itazura na Kiss has the best storyline (well, one of) and the only manga that have a long time frame. It start from high school to university, from puppy to adult love life. Kotoko is not that annoying in the manga. She just super naive girl with strong (and sometimes in wrong direction) determination.

Naoki is not a perfect character too...he has many flaws which clearly shown in the entire story plot. They both learn from each other. That what I love most about Itakiss.

This is the best site to know more about this dynamic duo.
http://www.suki-desu.com/
(I hope it's allow to give this link, if not.....will delete it)

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oh, and thank you javabeans for the reccap! :)

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Oh man -_- we had a 7.1 earthquake last night and it was DAMN SCARY T_T but I'm glad our house didn't collapse haha ... anyway, I will get around to watching this once it starts building a bit of momentum. Your recaps are much appreciated :D ~

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Are you in Chch? I'm visiting family in Napier, flying back tomorrow - so lucky that no-one was killed! My flat's got no water or power though apparently..=\ ...aren't kdramas great to take your mind off these things.

Anyway, this show is kind of what I was expecting so far - kind of mediocre - but I agree with an earlier poster who said they were glad the Naoki character showed some emotion this early on. In the manga he showed very little emotion and it became unbelievable and incredibly frustrating to watch the overly-naive, yet doggard Kotoko chase after him, even at university, when he showed little-to-no likeable personality traits (Yeah, he's handsome and smart and athletic blablabla, but that really means absolutely nothing if he's a dickhead, right?).

In this respect, I'll be happy if the drama slightly modifies these characters - preserving whatever it is that gets so many people hooked on the storyline, but getting rid of sexist and annoying elements.

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Yep! I'm pretty sure Christchurch is the only city in the world where a level 7 earthquake could happen and no-one dies ^^" thank God all the buildings are too flat LOL.

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1~ TQ JB for the recap

2~ well, i think all of us should wait for few next episodes b4 commenting on the actress/ actors/ storyline wtsver.

3~ so, i'll wait for next episode.

[ coz sometimes some k-drama do feel like this for 1-2 episodes, then it getting interesting]

#hoping all goes well =)

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people are complaining a lot, but truthfully, i found it quite adorable
i had pretty low expectations beacuse KHJ's acting made me wince in BOF, so it might not seem like much the drama exceeded those expectations but ...
i watched the first two episodes today, and in the second episode, i actually literally burst out laughing quite a number of times and that doesn't happen often for me. KHJ's much more his character in the second episode, and the female protagonist is absolutely adorable.
goong, bof, all those dramas started pretty dodgy too - doesn't everybody remember how everybody was all OMG GEUM JANDI IS SO UGLY AND OVERRACTS ALL THE TIME AN THE MAIN GUY HAS SUCH UGLY HAIR so i think people need to cut a bit of slack. bashing doesn't do anything. :/
so yes, i enjoyed episode 2 quite a lot and i'm hoping it looks up from here.

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the first ep is not so good but the upcoming episodes i think are sure to be good. I prefer this drama over its rival drama.

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episode 2 was awesome.

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yes i did so much bad comments about first epi but after watching the 2nd epi! i'm just swallowing my words :D:D i reaally liked 2nd epi!!!

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Too much Goong-like for me and too SLOW. I was getting bored after 15 minutes... And all the fantasizing was just useless...
Will it get better? Hmmm... Not so sure about that.

Thanks for the recap JB ^^.

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I really liked Jung So-min, I think as the live action version of Kotoko she was the best compared to Ariel.
KHJ was not that bad but he just didn't stand out nor did he and Jung have any chemistry.
But I hope that improves later(please, please, please)
Now I would say couple wise Joe and Ariel were better.

The goong vibe was really strong but because I loved Goong it was not a bad thing.
the dream sequences were a bit too much though.

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Thanx for the recap jb...loved it!
But u ve got to watch episode 2...it was damn funny and very fast...u ll definitely like it, am sure.

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and also u should watch khj's acting in particular in ep 2...he is definitely improved a lot...i mean it, A LOT!

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aww, it's cute even though it is slow.
I fall in love with Hani already, and mom! she's cute. I never seen any previous Jung Hye Young's works but know about her in the news with her singer husband Sean of Jinusean...and mom's character is always amusing! I like her portrayal of a nosy, lovable matchmaker mom.

Thanks for the recap Javabeans! off to watch 2nd episode~~

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Thanks, JB, for the recap and the review. Much appreciate it. I was actually more looking forward to reading your review than watching the drama. :D

But, I will definitely watch it. As soon as I finish They Kiss Again.

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thanks for recap, JB. I was waiting to read your PK first ep recap more than Gumiho recap this week ^^. Can't wait to read the 2nd ep recap because the 2nd ep is better :)

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ugh now i can breath. i just want to compare my judgment with yours. they are nearly the same. however, yours is in much deeper light.

i don't know about the others who are so angry but i like this show somehow. yes, it's not at all the exact taste i want but it got some place in my screen.

i just hope this show will overcome weaknesses and have the "oomph" you want.

i'm cheering for you OH-HA-NI!!!

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I cannot believe it....you made a reference to Duckie
Pretty in Pink fan. yeah yeah!
Love your recaps!

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Thank you for all the recap!!
I watched it already but I found it very boring. I'm disappointing maybe because I wait for it for too long.
So I couldn't finish it... maybe later.

JUST FOR ME, I wish it could be more exciting to watch all the character especially the main actress. I didn't hate her or anything I LOVE THIS COMIC VERY MUCH ^^ I found all the character are the same no one stand out, I meant the main actress should stand out more because this story is like her story. She could be more cheerful and enjoyable to watch but i can't hardly feel it on her.

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Fun fact: It took KHJ 30 minutes to speak. For the male lead to not say a word for half of the first episode - that's gotta be a record. :)

(I know he's pretty and all, but if I just wanted to look at him I wouldn't sit through a drama, lol.)

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Me too waited and waited for him to speak. LOL. It's the wrtiting and the PD.

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I dunno, I think the not-talking thing helps show just how ridiculous and unfounded Hani's crush is. If he talked a lot or was more personable in general, it might seem like she had half a chance. The not-talking implies that he doesn't think enough of other people to reply to them or pay them much mind at all. I think it works just fine with his character, and I didn't mind it at all. :)

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I know, right?
Even in Hani's dream, he's not speaking,lol

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well maybe in real life Hani never even hear him speaks. thats why even in her dreams he's not speaking any word coz she doesnt even know what's his speaking voice sounds like.

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WHY in gods name is there so much HATE for the Taiwanese version of it started with a kiss. I sense alot of bias with that , but I'm going to leave it alone , as I thought it was decent.

The same as this , stop putting the main actress down for her looks , I thought she did a great job esp since PK is a very run of the mill plotline , theres not much seperating it from the pack of stories just like it.

I love GoonG, in fact it's probably in my top 10 , and the similarities are annoying , but the bears are almost like a trademark now , I got over that annoyance pretty quickly with the second episode.

I have a tendency to like alot of stuff people just hate , plainly hate , so by that standard , I will love this show. I liked the first two eps , but it doesn't have the attraction alot of shows in the genre had , but I enjoy it.

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Comments:
1) Isn't the fantasy sequence related to the original manga/anime scene wherein Naoki kissed Kotoko in the forest, and Naoki's brother was the one who saw what his nii-chan did?

2) Jang-mi -> well, she's no rose (what her name means), but she's beautiful...with a thorny personality. She's an original character, ryt? I can't remember any character in the manga/anime (notice that I don't even mention ISWAK. That's cause I didn't like it from the start) having her as the daughter of Madam Irie's girl-friend.

3) Joo-ri's “My precious~!” (complete with rasping-with-phlegm voice and projectile saliva) -> way bit over the top...Seung-jo isn't something to be in Ha-ni's hand (or even around her finger, to be precise), but waaaaaay later, he will...HAHAHA (have no sense of humor myself)

4) Min-ah’s "mating dance" (this isn't G(umiho)G(irlfriend) reference, ryt?) ala Swan Lake -> the story (or ballet) is SOOOOOOOO similar in PK; Odette (Ha-ni) loves Prince Siegfried (Seung-jo...I forgot the Prince's name in Barbie's version), but professes his love for Odile (Jang-mi) by trickery from Rothbart's part...dunno who's Rothbart, maybe Jang-mi's mom??? (I'm so cruel, ryt...)

5) “Confess…Mating dance(/slash/Ballet)…Gollum…(then add "Drama")” HAHAHAHAHA :D

6) They reinvented the house-comes-tumbling-down scene with a twist: Joon-gu-with-the-strength-of-Ok-Taek-yeon...HA!
(for those who want to know: Taec lifted Im Seul-ong like 10x in Idol World: She Came Season 3 Christmas episode special (December 25, 2008), where 2AM were 2PM (the idol group host)'s guests)

7) Seung-jo's dad -> Dal-ja's officemate...haha

8) "Goong hardly spent any time at the school after the initial setup...whereas Playful Kiss will be primarily at school." -> well, Goong was a "황실 로맨스 드라마" (according to MBC, who ranked Goong in #10 (10위) of the 21st-cen. dramas...yes, there were rankings too for the 20th-cen. (1970's-1999) dramas), so said drama would really revolve at the palace...that's what the title really was, for, anyways... ("Goong" (宮 궁) - palace). Well, the characters about snooty high-IQ/athletic boy & dumby-but-not-dumb girl who basically worships the guy, and isn't that reminscent of girly romance school dramas, anyways?
(I'm not picking fights! PEACE ALL! C:)

9) THE TEDDY BEARS TABLEAU!!! I missed them since Goong (well, not much so in Goong S)...

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Darn it, you kept your promise and did this superhuman recap this week. Thank you so much!

Ep1 was boring. It did pick up in ep2 and I started to love their chemistry. KHJ was better than in BOF, the more he spoke with the girl, the cuter he became. I can see they will become a cute couple already, will stick with this show.

Read comments that KHJ is too old for the role, if the drama moves from high school to college and career later on, I think he will fit in (if that happens.)

I don't mind any Goong resemblance since for me Goong days were ages ago. Bears was cute why not? The thing that bothered me was 'Bye Bye Sea' dudes, PD please gives them lines to speak!

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Episode 1 was slow. Episode 2 was much better.

It took goong 4 episodes for the plot to move and maybe we should be thankful that it only took PK 2 episodes...haha this is me, looking at the silver lining of the show.

I am looking forward to episode 3, I have a good feeling that the episodes will be better than the first episode.

Hope you will still recap this JB. Thanks for the recap!

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Yep, I agree that Goong has grandeur and pomp to fill the space but Playful kiss just seems to have lots of gaps. I didnt know what was wrong until JB pointed this out.

I hope the pick up the pace and zazz in the upcoming eps and survive the union strikes. I am not the diehard fans of both the leads but was so looking fwd to this drama becos I am not quite into the gumiho.

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JB, thanks for the fair review--I, too, was apprehensive about reading your comments. Am glad that you picked up that the flaw in the storytelling is the director's fault--it always goes back to the director--since so many people were bashing KHJ before the drama even started. Since I read about the ratings before I got to watch the actual episodes, my expectations weren't high, and I actually found myself enjoying it. Yes, the fantasy sequences were too drawn out; I can see how they are needed to establish Ha Ni's obsession with Seung Jo, but they could have been tighter.

The biggest difference is JSM's Ha Ni, who is much more endearing than Ariel Lin (who was too often over the top, IMO). She's a delightful young actress who is able to make us feel empathy for her as she gets rejected and teased, and her friends seem much more sincere than Ariel Lin's self-seeking friends.

KHJ seems more confident and comfortable here that in BOF, and I hope to see the chemistry develop between the two characters as it's off to a good start. Ep. 2 was definitely better in giving both of them a chance to show it. Am definitely going to keep watching this one! (Am also watching MGIAG, but after two eps. didn't like the fantasy aspect--I know I need to watch more episodes to get into the story, but it hasn't grabbed me yet).

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I personally won't be following the series. Hated everything about it, not just Kim "The Table" Hyun Joong. Who was, btw, still as bad an actor as in BOF.

I just don't have the patience to try and guess what the heck he's feeling and when everything else annoys me as well, no use sticking around.

I will probably watch a couple of episodes (if I can force myself to) just to be fair though.

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I like the actress Jung So Min in this show. She 's so adorable I wish she would have more drama projects next year .

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Ok, so i admit it. I became half a fangirl after watching ep2. ^_~

I was a bit meh during ep1, especially during the imagination sequences (partically the bikergirl sequence - was it written by some noona scriptwriter who wanted to fulfill her fantasy of seeing KHJ ravaged?? haha),

but it SERIOUSLY picked up during ep2, i was hooked right from the start of the epi, when he gave that smirk.
(i kinda swooned there. i'm weak, i know ^^)

he seems different from bof, and yes, i agree with one of the comments that his shoulders (and chest) HAS broaded (woot~~) ^^

maybe i like them a bit bad, but i think KHJ kinda brought that right mix of badass and smartass. ^_~

anyways. i'm definitely waiting for ep3.
and can't wait to read ep2's recaps!!! thanks much, dramabeans, looking forward!!

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Kim hyung joon should stop murdering characters; first hanazawa rui, now eiri yuki...

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Thank you for being so open-minded, JB. :) I have a feeling this show is going to spawn a lot of controversy among your followers, since so many of them are fans of the original(s).. I'm really looking forward to reading your unbiased opinions, though. :)

I think you'll like KHJ more in the next episode. He actually surprised me with how decent he was.

Are you and GF going to be switching off recaps on PK too? Or have you guys not decided yet? (Just curious; I don't particularly care.)

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I don't know why every1 thot the bears were such a big issue. I mean ik wit the whole originality issue, but hey if u dnt like it jst don't watch the end of it and ignore it. It's not like we can personally go to the directors and call them out for it. I agree, i thot the first episode was very slow, so slow to the fact tht i started skipping certain scenes. but as i started to lose hope BAM the last scene i fell in luv wit. but i like the second episode better, and jsm isn't a bad actress. tht part requires a lot of facial expressions/exaggerations, imagine a khj girl verison playing the part. u want an ice cold girl w/ zlich expressions playing a cute lovable character? and i have u seen the tawianese version....now thts exaggeration. nways i hope this gets better ratings!

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i wasn't very hopeful in this drama and wasn't interested much... after watching the first 2 episodes, surprisingly, i liked it! :)

but i agree with JB, there are too many "daydreams" of Ha Ni and they weren't that good... i don't know, for me it just felt a little flat....

Jung So Min is lovely... i like her better than the taiwanese actress... F4 boy's acting needs improvement but i'm liking his character a lot... (i've always liked his type...(tae kyung, prince in Goong -forgot his name)...)

I am now looking forward to watching the next episodes of this drama... (but still not as much as MGIG ;) )

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I find the bears at the end adorable even though I've watched Goong. Pk ang Goong are just simply made by the same people so they have the same trademark; nothing wrong with this. Also Jung so min was adorable and Kim Joong Hyun was not bad so I'm fine with that, although I'm actually more excited for Sungkyunkwan Scandal than Pk.

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Thanks for your recap.

I haven't watched a drama since YAB ended...no time or inclination. But for some reason PK appealed to me...maybe it's the dismal ratings that made me want to cheer it on?

I have never read the manga or watched any other version of this show, so I am watching it absolutely unbias. I think that might be the best approach. Also, I just love kdrama for being kdrama, a delightful escape from the stress of work. PK has become my guilty pleasure, I think.

I've watched both episodes and am really enjoying it, fantasy sequences and all. I really love JSM...she is so adorable. I like KHJ and the whole supporting cast. Their quirks are rather cute.

PK does remind me of Goong, but I liked Goong, so that is not necessarily a bad thing.

I can't wait to see your recap of episode 2.

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"victim to the vicissitudes of adolescent infatuation" oh Javabeans, I am so your biggest fan. I find myself wondering what you do with your life outside of this site, because if you aren't employed as a writer of some sort than the world is missing out.

On to the show, fantasies were too long (check), not enough happened in the space allotted (check), and the main actress is adorable (double check). Like many others, I too watched ISWAK, but I couldn't make it through five episodes without wanting to backhand Ariel so I ended up skipping to the last episode just to get my denouement. If for nothing other than being able to make this character lovable I think this girl should be applauded. KHJ actually showed a bit more promise in the first 2 episodes and I'm glad, the awkwardness of BOFs will hopefully not appear in this drama.

Sidenote: I love his mom, how refreshing to have a male lead whose mother doesn't despise his potential love interest. It's really touching to see her with this motherless daughter, because they are both getting something they really wanted.

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I agree about the mother role; tho' it was the same in ISWAK, Jung Hye Young brings a loveliness to the role and she's the one who calls her son is cold and arrogant! Given that acknowledgment of her own perfect son's shortcomings makes her appreciate Ha Ni even more.

It's also great seeing JHY in a light comedic role . . . I remember her as the evil Jae Hee on "To Be With You" and on "Phoenix" where she was crazy.

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thanks jb for the recaps! i thought you would have second thoughts about recapping playful kiss so when i saw the recap i couldnt help but smile!

sharing same sentiments with you guys that the dream sequences were bit too much. but aside from that the drama is not that bad.

i like JSM as oh ha ni, she plays the part really well.

kim hyung joon thankfully is not as stiff as he used to be in BOF. i think this role suits him more.

actually the whole cast doing a good job in acting their part even newbies like the indie band bye bye sea.

hope that the drama picks up its paced. have watched episode 2 and its much better.

i do hope that the episodes to come it get better.

will girlfriday do the recap for episode 2? i do hope so coz i like to know her stake in playful kiss.

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oh khj,,u look so yamapiiiiiiii

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my thoughts exactly,,,except that I thought he makes a better looking yamapi then yamapi...i hate yamapi's BB hair so much.

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